The Ghost of Leadville
Mon
Jul 12 2010 9:40am

The Ghost of Leadville

My name is Rose Sullivan. Although I’ve been on the earth for two hundred years, I was turned on my twenty-fifty birthday. I am eternally frozen in the physical form of a twenty-five year old. Blonde hair, blue eyes, five feet two inches tall, one hundred pounds. I am small in stature which means men sometimes make the mistake of thinking a childish mind resides in this rather childish body. They only make the mistake once. I am preternaturally strong, as are all vampires, and have no tolerance toward those who try to intimidate me—or others. If I see an injustice, it is in my nature to correct it.

It isn’t always easy being vampire. There are rules to be followed. Most humans are unaware of our existence. Just as they are unaware of other supernatural beings living amongst them. They have to be. The great secret must be preserved. Humanity has shown how it reacts to that which it does not understand. Destroy first. Ask questions later.

And so I have survived as a vampire for two hundred years. Living in big cities, mostly. Able to last as long as forty years in one guise—the latest a museum curator in New York. My specialty was early Americana. Convenient since I was born to missionary parents in the American west in 1809.

But one can only do so much to disguise a face and body that do not age. It becomes apparent when all those around you take note of your “youthful” appearance that is time to move on. A hasty resignation because of “family problems,” a quick transfer of funds to whatever new identity I’ve adopted and a brief goodbye to the human hosts who have provided me sustenance during my stay. They, the few who are guardians of the secret, do not question. They are used to the plight of the vampire. They know to take the money and pleasure offered in return for blood and form no attachment. It has always been so.

And so I shed the skin of the old persona and adapt a new one in Leadville, Colorado in the year 2009.

I’ve decided this time around to eschew bright lights and settle into a quiet existence in a quiet little town. I’ve also decided to write a book. Why not? Look at a current bestseller list. The one hot topic on all the charts is vampire romance. Who is in a better position to write about vampire romance than a female vampire who has certainly experienced her share of romance? And besides, it’s a chance to set the record straight, albeit under the ruse of fiction, about many things having to do with living a modern vampire life. It’s not all bad. Not by a long shot.

There is another reason I chose to make this incarnation that of a writer. It’s a solitary existence. I’ve had my fill of city life and being forced to live among people. The smells, the noises, the desperation of a population trying to cram all of life into a few decades burdens the spirit of a vampire. I’m ready for a change.

I bought a nicely restored Victorian on the edge of Leadville. I stumbled on the place last year while on a research trip, visiting early mining sites in preparation for a museum exhibit. Leadville nestles in a fold of the Rocky Mountains, hidden, protected. At the height of the gold rush, fifty thousand called this place home. Now there are barely two thousand people living here. The climate is harsh. The most often heard comment is that Leadville has two seasons—this winter and last winter. But temperature is irrelevant to a vampire. And Leadville’s one lasting claim to fame is an opera house, built to entertain the miners during the long winter. It has been restored and opens its door to the public in the summer when a flock of faithful opera fans make the trek up from Denver to enjoy the old building’s perfect acoustics. It is a gentle reminder of a gentler time. I fell in love with it at first sight.

And so I find myself comfortably ensconced on my living room couch, laptop computer open, finger poised over the keys to begin this novelist’s journey. My eyes, however, keep drifting upwards, through the window at the other side of the room, drawn to the mountains rising like stark, grey monoliths against a cloudless November sky.

A familiar landscape.

Truth be told, this is not the first time I’ve lived in Leadville.

Memories flood back.

No, I lived here once before.

* * *

Leadville, 1884
Hyman’s Saloon

“Rose. Come on over here, gal. I have someone for you to meet.”

I look up. Sunny Tom’s face is wreathed in a grin, his dozen gold teeth flashing in the bar light like fireflies on a summer night.

Are you sure? I ask him. I’ve been keeping an eye on the poker table. Miners flush with gold dollars and full to the brim with whiskey are normally good for business. But when the cards turn against them, the whiskey takes over. Bullets are never good for business and at this moment, both the whiskey and the cards are turning against one youngster new to both. I raise an eyebrow at Tom. This could turn ugly.

He shrugs. He pay for his drinks?

A nod.

Then fuck him. This is more important.

My gaze sweeps over the slight figure of a man standing beside him. Sunny Tom is six feet tall, two hundred pounds. The stranger with him is maybe five foot ten, one hundred forty pounds. He’s dressed like a dandy—striped pants, white shirt, cravat with a diamond stickpin that winks at me as I approach. He has a hat in his hand and a big Colt revolver on his hip.

He watches me with a predator’s eye. He’s even-featured with a square chin, light brown hair, full mustache. Not bad looking. Must be a big spender if Tom is sending him to me.

I tilt my head, taste the air around him. He’s sick. Consumption. It hovers about him in a bilious cloud.

I hold out my hand. “Rose.”

He takes it, brings it to his lips. “John Holliday, ma’am. Pleased to meet you.”

Sunny Tom probes my head, waiting for the connection to be made. I lift a shoulder in a half-shrug which prompts an exasperated, John Holliday? You don’t know the name? How about Doc Holliday? That ring any bells?

Tom turns his smile back on Doc Holliday. “I will leave you in Rose’s most capable hands. Have a very good evening.”

He saunters away to take my place near the poker table, winking as he passes. Have fun.

With a consumptive? Tom is past before I can skewer him with a properly caustic reply.

He runs the saloon, I run the girls who work it. There are only two people who know the truth of our relationship. Sunny Tom and me. We are both vampires. Running a bar that specializes in whores and whiskey keeps us both in what we need. Human blood.

He’s set me up tonight with a consumptive. It’s not the illness I resent. Vampires are impervious to human disease. It’s the taste of the blood.

My shoulders bunch a little at the prospect but I put on a sweet smile and take my place beside Doc at the bar. He half turns toward me and the diamond at his neck catches and reflects the light in a rainbow burst. I reach up and touch it with the tip of a finger. “Nice bauble, Mr. Holliday.”

His smile is tinged with bitterness and regret. “A gift from my mother before she died. Unfortunately not the only thing she left me.” He is looking down the bar and with a flick of a finger, summons the barkeep.

Holliday orders whiskey for himself, turns to me. “What will you have?”

“Gin.” I tap a finger on the bar. Sam has worked for us for twenty years and he interprets my order with a nod and a grin.

He turns his back on us and pours.

I touch Holliday’s hand. “What brings such a famous person to Leadville?”

“I guess you could say my mother.” This time there’s no mistaking the irony heavy in his tone.

He reads the question in my eyes. He shakes his head, but the hard lines of his mouth soften. “The climate. I’ve been told it is better for one who suffers with consumption to live in a dry climate.”

An honest answer. My eyebrows lift in surprise. It is only in the last few years that consumption has been found to be infectious. Yet he says it openly. Maybe because I am only a whore, bought and paid for, and the answer is of no consequence. The health of his wallet is all I should be interested in.

The bartender places our drinks in front of us. Holliday takes a long pull, draining the glass, orders another. I sip at my drink. It’s only water. I learned long ago to keep a clear head when working. Alcohol goes directly into a vampire’s system and we are as susceptible to its effects as humans. It took an unexpected and unprovoked attack from a drunken miner to teach me that lesson. Vampires are not easily killed, but we feel pain. I bore the marks of that attack for two days. The miner suffered the consequences for a much briefer period. He was dead in two minutes.

I watch Holliday surreptitiously, over the rim of my glass. Standing this close to him, his reputation as a cold-blooded killer seems exaggerated. His speech is soft, his inflection subtle. He is neither loud nor imposing.

Not an indication that he doesn’t like his sex rough, I remind myself. The mildest mannered men are often the ones who find it satisfying to take their frustrations out on a female.

“So, Rose.” Holliday dabs at his mouth with a finger. “What do you do for excitement in Leadville?”

“The gaming tables here, of course,” I reply with a smile. “And Horace Tabor opened his opera house just last week. Emma Abbott is performing. Her voice is wonderful. If you’re planning to stay for awhile, you really should catch a performance.”

He nods and signals for another drink. “Perhaps I will.” He looks toward the tables. “Business appears to be good.”

“It is. Silver was discovered two years ago and those lodes are as rich as the gold. There’s money to be made for sure.”

Holliday is watching me now, over the rim of his glass. “You don’t talk like a whore. You don’t look like one either. Your skin is milky white. Your hair shiny. Good teeth. Why hasn’t some rich city boy plucked you up?”

I wave a hand and laugh. “You see any rich city boys around here? I’m doing what I want to do. I like men. They seem to like me. Men are allowed to indulge their passions. What’s wrong with a woman doing the same thing?”

His eyebrows raise a bit. “Plain talk. I like that. I say let’s you and me follow that passion right up to a room.” He signals the bartender. “A bottle, if you please, and two glasses.”

He tucks the bottle under an arm, scoops the glasses into one hand, places his other hand at the small of my back. “Time to properly make your acquaintance, Miss Rose,” he says with a little bow. “Lead the way.”

Tom’s eyes follow us to the staircase at the back of the saloon. I feel his thoughts reaching out. You need anything, you call, he says.

I smile at him over my shoulder. You watch out for the other girls. Trixie should be back down in fifteen minutes. Annabelle just went up. Those two miners in the corner have monopolized Jane and Kate for too long. If they aren’t ready to pony up for a fuck in ten minutes, kick ‘em out.

He grins and throws me a salute. Yes, sir. How long should I give you and Doc?

I put my arm through Holliday’s. As long as it takes.

My room is at the back of the hallway, facing Main Street. It has big windows that are left open nearly year around. The cold doesn’t bother me and the bracing smell of air heavy with snow flushes out the human smell of sweat and semen that often permeates these walls.

Holliday crosses right over to the windows and pulls them shut. “Damn, woman. It’s cold in here. Don’t you feel it?”

No, the vampire answers. The human answers, “I forget sometimes, to close the windows. Here. I’ll stoke the fire. It will be warm as a spring day in a minute.”

He holds up the bottle. “Good thing I brought a little something to help heat us up.”

He pours two glasses and hands one to me. I pretend to take a sip, then place the glass on the table next to the bed. “I know better ways to heat our blood.” I slip the straps of my gown down over my shoulders.

His eyes follow my movements. He still has his own glass in his hand. By the time I’ve stripped down to my undergarments, that hand is trembling a little.

“You have a beautiful body,” he says. “Tiny. You’re no bigger than a minute.”

“How about you, cowboy? You no bigger than a minute?”

He puts his glass down beside mine, crosses the room, eyes blazing with the challenge. He shrugs out of his jacket, lets it fall to the floor. He pulls the tie off, strips off his shirt. Only then does he take his gun belt off. He lets the holster fall to the floor. The gun he places on one of the pillows.

“You afraid you need protection from me?” I ask with a playful smile. I don’t like guns, especially one within arm’s reach of a man I’m fucking. Bullets can’t kill me, but they sure as hell can hurt.

I reach out to move the gun. He’s faster. He stops my hand, gives it a little shake. “Uh-huh. The gun stays where it is.”

I twist free. “You paid for my time. This is my bedroom. I will fuck you any way you want, but not with a gun on my pillow. It either gets moved, or you both do. Out the door.”

His face darkens with quick anger. Then it’s over. The cloud clears from his eyes first. Then the corners of his mouth turn up in a grin. “Do you fuck as good as you give orders?”

My hand drifts down his stomach, rubs at the bulge pushing against the fabric of his pants. “Take these off and we’ll find out.”

He fumbles a little with the buttons, impatience and desire making him clumsy. I push his hands away and free him myself. His member thrusts out at me, hard and ready. I throw him back on the bed, pull off his boots and slide his trousers down over his ankles. He reaches for me, but I’ve got the gun in my hand and have stepped out of reach to place it across the room on the bureau.

When I turn around, he’s watching me with that predator’s glare again, wary, suspicious, until I pull my chemise up over my head and stand in front of him as naked as he is.

Suspicion and doubt are swept from his mind. The only thing he feels now is a powerful lust, a hunger. My blood responds to the fire in his eyes. I let him pull me down on top of him, our bodies press together. My breasts are crushed against his chest, his erection between my legs, probing, insistent. He grabs my shoulders and rolls me over. He thrusts himself deep inside me, pounding into me until he comes with a gasp and a moan.

It’s over for him. The weight of his body on mine grows heavier as his breathing becomes deep and regular. I let him drift off, used to the ways of men. I am a whore whose value is limited to one thing—the vessel into which men pour their seed. But I am also vampire. I have needs of my own.

I have learned how best to fulfill those needs. When Holliday has slept for some minutes, I begin. I roll him gently off me and start first by calling up my own desire. My fingers probe my sex, finding the spot that brings the release denied me with our first coupling. Then, breathless, eager, I turn my attention to him. I take his sex in my hands, gently, using strokes as light as a butterfly’s kiss to call back the hunger. Holliday awakens, startled, to find this woman, this whore fondling him. But his body is already responding. He moans and lets me continue until he is fully aroused. He reaches for me. This time, I have my way.

I straddle him, pinning him beneath me with my thighs. I guide him into me and begin moving, slowly, his sex filling me, pressing against the pleasure point, tension rising until my blood sings with it. He tries once to grab my shoulders, thrust me back under him, but I am vampire. This is my game now.

He gives in, surrendering to my control. His hands grasp my buttocks, his hips grind against mine. He’s moaning again, a low, keening sound. His eyes are closed and I bend forward, kiss each eyelid, brush my lips against his. I trace a path with my tongue from the corner of his mouth to his jaw line, find the pulse point just beneath the surface, wait until I feel the first spasms of his release, and bite.

Need consumes us both. He comes with a groan as his body pushes up against mine. I come with a shudder as I taste his blood, roll it around in my mouth, savor the life essence of this man. His blood is not as bitter as I expect. I drink, great breathless droughts of blood that warm and revive me. But I know when to stop. When to relegate the vampire back to the shadow. When to call the human back.

Holliday lies spent once more beneath me. I use my lips to close and heal the puncture marks. This is when I secrete the enzymes that make my host forget. The sex. The feeding.

But I don’t want this one to forget. He won’t remember my opening his neck. He won’t remember my taking his blood. But he will remember the coupling, the pleasure we’ve given each other. I lay still and quiet beside him.

While I’m cradled against his shoulder, his right hand comes up and caresses the back of my neck. He doesn’t fall asleep this time. He gathers me into his arms.

Imagine that.

Holding a whore after sex.

It makes me smile.

* * *

I’m sitting at the vanity, still naked, brushing my hair. Holliday watches, leaning against the headboard, a blanket thrown over his hips.

“You are no ordinary whore.”

I shrug. “What kind of whore am I?”

He tilts his head, studying me. “I don’t know.”

He throws off the blanket, comes to stand behind me, takes the brush from my hand. He draws it gently through my hair. When he leans toward me, I feel his sex press into the small of my back.

“Are you ready to go again so soon?”

He lays the brush down, puts his hands on my shoulders, pulls me up. “If you do what you did before, I may never want to leave this room.”

He is smiling and for a moment, I see the younger, healthier man he must have been before illness and the fortunes of life claimed him.

A startling thought flashes into my head. He could be that man again. I could make it happen. I could make him forever young and healthy. I could make him vampire.

I feel him watching me. I’ve never done it before—made another like me. Would he want it?

His hands cup my face. “What are you thinking?”

A rap on the door brings me back to the present with a little jump. I stand back and away from Holliday and snatch up a robe. “Yes?”

“There’s someone here says he’s looking for Doc Holliday.”

Sunny Tom’s voice carries through the thick door. His thoughts project even better. This could be trouble.

Holliday reaches for his trousers. “Got a name?”

I’ve crossed to the door, pulled it open. Sunny Tom steps inside. “Says his name is Billy Allen. Says he’s gunning for you. Name mean anything?”

A frown pulls at the corners of his mouth. “Yeah. The name means something.” He shrugs into his shirt, tucks it into his trousers, straps on the holster. He grabs the gun from the top of the bureau, spins the chamber, slips it into the holster in a single, fluid motion.

“You don’t have to go down there. There’s a back entrance. Tom could show you and you could be out of town before Allen knows you’re gone.”

Holliday shakes his head. “No.”

The answer sends a spark of irritation burning through me. “Why not? Why risk dying?”

His expression this time is one of amused indulgence. He chucks my chin. “I am dying, lady. Consumption, remember?”

“But what if you didn’t have to die?”

What are you doing, Rose? Tom’s voice is sharp-edged and heavy with disapproval.

Holliday is at my vanity, smoothing his hair back from his face, straightening the diamond tiepin at the neck of his shirt. “We all have to die, Rose. I’d prefer to do it with my boots on.”

He turns toward me and smiles. “How do I look?”

“Good. You look good.”

He takes another step closer, close enough to lean down and brush his lips against mine. “Keep that bed warm. I reckon to be back.”

And then he’s gone, Tom on his heels.

Tom doesn’t leave without a parting shot. He pauses at the door, grins back at me. He must be one hell of a fuck.

I push the door closed at his back and scramble for my clothes. There are too many of them with too many hooks and too many buttons. I give up, wrap the robe around me again and cinch it with the sash. Barefoot, I run into the hall.

The retort of the gunshot reaches me at the top of the stairs. I race down in time to see Holliday leaning over the end of the bar. In two seconds, I’m at his side.

Billy Allen is on the floor, his right arm bloody. He’s yelling and clutching at the arm, his face twisted in pain and fear.

Holliday stands over him, pistol cocked, and takes aim.

“No.” I put my hand on his arm, tug. “If you kill him like this, it’s cold blooded murder. If you stop now, it’s self-defense. You’ll have a fighting chance with a jury.”

I recognize in Holliday’s face a feeling I’m well acquainted with—the blood lust—when adrenaline is hot in your veins and the need for satisfaction swallows up your humanity. I’m not sure he heard or understood what I said. His heart is pounding with such force, I feel it deep in my own chest.

The crowd in the saloon has grown quiet. The only noise is the sound of sobbing from Billy Allen. Holliday remains poised over him. He glances down at me.

I shake my head. “Don’t. Please.”

He smiles.

Then he fires.

I jump, gasping.

There’s a strangled cry from Billy Allen that continues to grow in volume until as one, all of us take a step forward to look.

The floor is splintered just above Allen’s head. He’s curled himself into a fetal position, rocking and crying. The air is foul with the smell of his body’s waste. He’s pissed and shit himself and all around, laughter erupts.

Holliday holsters his gun. “Sorry for the mess,” he says.

He looks around at the crowd. “I reckon someone should get Marshal Kelly. And call whoever you have in town who serves as a medical man to tend to Allen here. I’ll be at the bar.”

He holds out his arm and I take it. “You know you’re going to pay for the damage to the floor.”

Holliday grins. “You are no ordinary whore. That’s a fact.”

Sunny Tom is directing the music man back to his playing and the girls back to their hustling. He herds players toward the gaming tables to resume their interrupted poker game. I signal the bartender to give everyone a drink on the house. Soon Billy Allen is nothing more than a mewling distraction to be stepped around until the town’s doctor arrives to cart him off.

Holliday and I sip whiskey at the bar.

“What’s going to happen?” I ask. It’s a stupid question. I know the answer.

Holliday’s smile acknowledges that we both do. “I’ll be arrested. If I’m lucky, they’ll let me out on bail. If not, I’ll be in jail until the trial.”

“It’s self-defense, though, pure and simple. Sunny Tom said Allen was gunning for you. You have a right to protect yourself.”

Holliday laughs. “I’ll be sure you’re called as a defense witness.”

“It will be my pleasure.”

We lapse into silence. I can’t quantify what it is about this man, this stranger, that has touched me. I only know that I want him to stay with me, if not forever, than at least as long as human life allows.

“You better come right back here the minute you’re released, y’hear?”

Another rumbling laugh. “You sure like to give orders.”

“I do. And I’m used to those orders being followed. Don’t make me come after you.”

He puts his hand over mine on the bar and squeezes. “I’ll do my best.”

I lean toward him, resting my head on his shoulder, wondering again what he might say if I told him what I was and offered him eternal life. Would he believe me?

No. Worse, he might think me mad. Better to wait until he comes back. Until I have time to explain the gift I have to offer. What it means to me. What it can mean to him.

My heart is pounding so hard, I’m sure he must hear it. Maybe if I remind him of what we shared upstairs. Give him a hint of what could be. What will be when he returns.

I move closer, my lips at his ear.

He bends his head. “Yes, Rose?”

           I don’t get the chance. Marshal Kelly and two deputies appear at the door to the saloon and Holliday pushes himself away from the bar to meet him. He lets them take his gun and cuff his hands behind his back. He doesn’t look my way. Not once. He carries himself straight and tall and with quiet dignity as they lead him away.

Sunny Tom comes to stand beside me at the bar. “Damn girl. Are you crying?”

I swipe at tears and snot with the back of my hand. “Of course not.” I look around. “The excitement doesn’t seem to have hurt business.”

“Nope.” He leans his elbows back on the bar and rests a foot on the copper rail. “Think we’ll see Holliday again?”

“Of course. I told him he’d better come back the minute he’s out of jail.”

“And nobody disobeys one of your orders, do they?”

“Not if they’re smart. I figure between all the legal wrangling and the trial, he should be walking through that door in six months at the outside.”

Sunny Tom shakes his head. “Hope you’re right. I’d hate to see you get your heart broke.”

“What heart?”

One of the girls calls for Tom and he leaves me with a pat on the arm.

But I know.

Holliday will be acquitted and he’ll come back.

He has to.

# # # #

Turns out I am right and I am wrong.

Doc Holliday is acquitted. A jury agrees that Billy Allen spent the morning he was shot walking up and down Main Street telling everyone that he was out for Holliday’s blood. They reasoned it would have been foolish on Holliday’s part not to be prepared to counter force with force.

But I am wrong about something else. I am wrong about the most important part. I am wrong that Holliday will come back to me.

He never does.

For some weeks, I follow his story in the newspaper. How during the trial, Holliday’s health deteriorated. How when it was over, he headed south for Glenwood Springs, to partake of medicinal waters found there that are said to relieve the suffering of consumptives. How somewhere along the way, he picked up a traveling companion.

At that point, I stop reading the stories. Stop waiting for him to appear. Stop making plans for when he does. It is finally clear that whatever we shared those brief hours six months before meant far more to me than it did to him.

Sunny Tom and I continue to run our saloon. We know it won’t be long before we have to move on. The silver veins are petering out and prices are falling. In preparation we begin hoarding more and more of our take.

On November 14, 1887, I come downstairs to find Sunny Tom having breakfast at his usual table, the Leadville Carbonate Chronicle spread out in front of him. His hand stills and his eyes grow round as he reads.

I pour myself a cup of coffee and came round to join him. What’s wrong?

He looks up at me, pity reflected in his expression. It’s an emotion quite alien to his usually gruff nature. I raise an eyebrow in surprise.

He turns the paper around so that I see what sparked the reaction.

It is Doc Holliday’s obituary.

I thrust it away. I don’t want to know.

Sunny Tom takes the paper back. “You should at least hear this,” he says aloud. He settles the paper on the table and begins to read:

“There is scarcely one in the country who had acquired a greater notoriety than Doc Holliday, who enjoyed the reputation of being one of the most fearless men on the frontier, and whose devotion to his friends in the climax of the fiercest ordeal was inextinguishable. It was this, more than any other faculty, that secured for him the reverence of a large circle who were prepared on the shortest notice to rally to his relief.”

He meets my gaze across the table. “He was a good man. It’s all right to grieve.”

No. I won’t grieve any human. It’s pointless. They die. We do not.

I push myself away from the table, turning to flee back upstairs when a man from the stage office appears at the saloon doors.

“Can I help you?” I ask.

He has a small package in his hand. “I’m looking for Rose Sullivan.”

“I am she.”

He holds the package out to me. “This came for you on the morning stage.”

I fish a coin from my pocket and press it into his palm as I accept the package.

Sunny Tom asks from his table, “Sir, would you like a drink?”

I don’t wait for the answer, but seat myself at a table in the far corner to examine the package. It’s wrapped in plain brown paper, my name and Hyman’s Saloon, Leadville, printed in block letters on the top. There is no indication of who it’s from.

But something inside me knows. My hands tremble as I tear at the paper, fumble the top off the tiny box inside.

A diamond winks up at me.

Under it, a note. “For Rose. To remember me by. John Holliday.”

* * *

Leadville
Present Day

A chiming tone from my computer brings me back with a start. I have an instant message coming in from my friends at the museum in New York. They tell me they miss me and ask how I’m doing and when I’m coming back.

We know you won’t last in bumfuckville six months, one of them writes. Rose Sullivan living in a ghost town? Never gonna work.

My fingers play with the small diamond pendant I’ve worn around my neck for over a hundred  years.

Holliday was the first and only man I ever considered offering immortality. If he’d come back after his trial, maybe he’d be seated beside me right now, adding his own words to mine.

My face is wet with tears. I am surprised how the memory of a man I knew only a few hours has power still to touch me. Or is it this place? Was coming back to Leadville a mistake?

Deep inside, I know it’s not.

My fingers begin to move over the keyboard. Doc Holliday is here with me. I hear his voice, see his face and the words flow.

This will be more than a novel.

This will be our story.

 


A note: I’ve telescoped time and circumstances to fit this story. Doc Holliday spent most of the last years of his life in Leadville, Co before dying in Glenwood Springs in 1887.  The shooting of Billy Allen, the opening of Tabor Opera House, Hyman’s Saloon are all part of the Leadville Holliday would have known during his stay. I’ve taken the liberty to reorder time so that what actually took place over years, takes place in one.

Holliday always wore a diamond stickpin given him by his mother. When he died, the pin was found in his effects. The diamond was not.

First published in The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2 
from Running Press Book Publishers

Copyright (c) 2009 Jeanne C. Stein

This story is part of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Month: ‹ previous | index | next ›
10 comments
Max Moseley
1. mmoseley
I'm not really used to reading "paranormal romance," but this was pretty okay. I didn't quite get her fascination with Doc Holliday, though. What I did like, however, was when she kind of made fun of all the vampire stories that are out there now. I thought it was rather clever.
Commonlaw504
2. Commonlaw504
I have some roots in Leadville, and I'm fascinated by the era. This story definitely struck a couple of chords with me.
Alex Brown
3. AlexBrown
Glad to see some fantasy embracing the Old West...I'm a huge fan of Westerns and a huge fan of SFF and am constantly annoyed at the lack of crossover between the two.
Commonlaw504
5. Deb Stover
Nice job, Jean.

~Deb
www.debstover.com
Commonlaw504
6. Janet Lane
Creative, lusty and fun! --Janet
Commonlaw504
7. JeanneStein
thanks all for reading--This was actually my first attempt at a paranormal romance-- I've always written UF before where there is no HEA. I guess that's why there couldn't be one here either.

I've always been fascinated with the history of the west in general and Doc Holliday in particular. Maybe living close to where he died has something to do about it. One of the first things I did when moving to CO was to visit his grave.

I also use Leadville in a novella called Cloud City which will be pub'd next year. It's an Anna Strong story.

Deb and Janet-- hey!! They are RMFW pals-- see you at the Colorado Gold conference (if not before!)
Commonlaw504
8. Ron Heimbecher
Very nicely done, Jeanne. You still got the diamond? B^)
Commonlaw504
9. JeanneStein
It's my secret, Ron-- ;-)
Emily Reynolds
10. Adamanta
The first time I started reading this story, I stopped after the first few paragraphs because 1) not really interested in vampires, and 2) thought it was set in a modern time period like Twilight. But after reading past the introduction, I was sucked into the world by the dialogue and swift storytelling. Great twist, vampires and Doc Holliday! I never would have guessed that a vampire/western/historical fiction/romance could have worked so well. :)

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment